NEWBURYPORT — Author Aine Greaney has a novel coming out in April titled "Dance Lessons," and a second book will be published later this spring, "Writer with a Day Job."
Two books in succession is a notable achievement for a full-time author, but Greaney works on her craft part-time because she is, in fact, a writer with a day job.
The Irish-born Newburyport resident is a communications manager for a large, nonprofit social services agency in Peabody, but she will no doubt make time in coming weeks to promote her new books — and enjoy the moments of publishing success that elude many writers.
"I like to be busy, and being able to produce 'Writer with a Day Job' was rewarding because I actually give advice on how to make time for writing," said Greaney, who also leads learning clinics in schools and libraries. "And getting a novel published is very exciting after much preparation and work."
Greaney was brought up in The Neale, County Mayo, Ireland. She came to the United States in 1986 on a break from her teaching job. Her first home was in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and then she moved to Albany, where she earned an advanced degree in writing.
She and her husband, insurance appraiser Ken Ellrott, fell in love with New England on their vacation trips to the coast, and the couple moved to Gloucester in the late '90s.
"While we were living in Gloucester, we came to Newburyport one day, saw a play at the Firehouse and then we had dinner and a wonderful walk," recalled Greaney.
"We had a great day, and we said to ourselves that this is where we should be living. Not long after we started looking for a house here."
Greaney works about 32 hours per week for an agency that aids individuals with addictions, and the personnel with whom the agency deals can make for an emotionally exhausting day.
"I don't really refer to my work in my writing," Greaney said, "but most people have had family members with problems, and I do write about families and relationships."
Greaney is one of a rare breed of "part-time" writers who manages to get published with regularity. Her first novel, "The Big House," was published in 2003 by TownHouse and Simon & Schuster, U.K., while her short story collection, "The Sheepbreeders Dance," was published by Flume Press in 2005.
Her short fiction and personal essays have been published in U.S. and Irish literary publications, including "Creative Nonfiction," IMAGE Magazine, "The Fish Anthology," "The Literary Review," "Books Ireland" and "Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Literature from Upstate New York."
The new novel will be published by Syracuse University Press, and a marketing representative of that organization, Lisa Kuerbis, said, "We're thrilled to be publishing Aine's novel. It manages to be both a story of great depth and emotion, and a wonderful travelogue of the Irish countryside. She already has a loyal following, but I have no doubt that 'Dance Lessons' will introduce her to a wider audience."
The author has prevailed without an agent. "I researched, pitched and sold all of my book proposals myself," she said. "Once I have a contract, I work with a wonderful literary lawyer in New York who has been an invaluable resource in helping to understand and negotiate my publisher contracts."
Greaney often speaks to students about writing and publishing. Debbie Szabo, a teacher and poetry club organizer at Newburyport High School, said, "Aine has been to my creative writing classes, and has done a great job with reading her work and discussing it. Students have gotten a lot out of hearing a published author."
(She will teach at course at the Newburyport Adult and Community Education program on Saturday, March 12, titled "Finishing Touch," about getting material ready for publishing. More information about the course can be reached by calling 978-465-1257.)
Greaney attributed her current success, in part, to an inborn stubborn streak that refuses to back down from an original vision. "I will never let myself off the hook (about writing) with willy-nilly excuses like the weather or the current publishing climate or my own state of mind.
"Also, I work well under very short deadlines. Recently I had a deadline of Dec. 31 for a memoir-writing project, so I worked on it all day and e-mailed it off at 11:58 p.m., then I went downstairs and drank some nice champagne to ring in the new year with my husband."